Energy Spectrum – Are You Training Your Dog at the Right Energy Level?

We find that how energetic a dog is makes a big difference in what you should be training.

Let’s say you want to train your dog how to Loose Leash Walk. Many people think if their dog is hyper they should take them for a walk and also work at teaching their dog to walk nicely on leash. This is one of the hardest times to train walking is when the dog is super hyper.

By exercising the dog first a person will find it much easier to train loose leash walking.

This is the order we go in for training:

  1. Hyper (dog wants to run) – Recall, Fetch, Tug, Agility, Tracking, Pulling Sports
  2. Lively (dog feels like walking) – Loose Leash Walking
  3. Medium (dog feels like sitting) – Work on sitting
  4. Relaxing (dog feels like down) – Work on down.
  5. Mellowing Out (dog feels like staying in one spot) – Work on stay.
  6. Getting tired – Greeting Guests (less likely to jump and get excited when guests come over.
  7. Really tired (dog is passed out) – Work on separation anxiety or desensitizing to distractions.

So even if a dog is passed out tired, this is when we will load the dog in the vehicle and go for a car ride. They are sleepy, lay down and remain calm and quiet. This becomes the dogs habit when getting into a vehicle. Usually if the dog is hyper a person may load them up to take them somewhere like a park to run. The dog’s habit when they get in a vehicle is to be super excited, possibly barking or whining.

We developed this technique when we were doing Board and Train. If you only have 4 weeks to train a dog that knows nothing to knowing all of their commands extremely well you want to ensure that every single second the dog is doing a good behaviour. Trying to fight the Energy Spectrum just created a nightmare. Imagine you want to train a dog to stay and you are doing it when the dog is hyper. The dog wants to leave their spot, or they may bark or whine. If they keep practicing those negative behaviours, they will get better at those negative behaviours. If you train stay when the dog is getting sleepy, their habit is to be calm and quiet when told to stay.

So take it from me, if you want to make your life easy, follow the Energy Spectrum. If you fight it, it will make your life much more difficult.

In the case of training stay, you eventually want the dog to stay even if they are hyper. The way we would deal with this is by working on stay during week one when the dog was good and tired to help build the habit. Week two we would work on stay when the dog was half full of energy. Week three we would work on stay when they were 3/4 to full energy. You build the dog’s energy back in as if it were a distraction, since it is a distraction.

So next time you go to take your dog for a walk when they are hyper and not great on leash you should really rethink and maybe go play tug or fetch instead. Maybe have them pull weights or run them on the treadmill. Take them somewhere to run and burn off steam. Then go for your walk. I already spent years making this mistake for you. I can tell you it doesn’t work very well. This mistake is excellent at producing frustration or creating new swear words. Maybe your day at work went way too good that day and you really need to bring it down a few notches. If that is the case take a dog that is not trained and super hyper and go for a walk. That should bring it down a few notches to a mediocre or glum day if that is what you are going for.

If you need advice on making any other mistakes, let me know. I am an Expert Mistake Maker. They say Edison failed 1000 times when making the light bulb and when asked about it he didn’t view them as mistakes he said “I know 1000 ways how not to make a light bulb”.

If there’s a way to do something wrong, I’ll find it. However all of these mistake are not in vain. Clients do benefit from them. Not only can I tell you what ways work well, I can tell you many ways that do not work well. Sometimes knowing the things not to do are as important or more important than knowing what to do. “Don’t stick your finger in there, it will chop your finger off.” Good to know, I’ll keep my finger out of there then.

When you have two hyper huskies each tied to the opposite end of a 100 foot rope. Make sure you are paying attention and don’t let that rope lay behind you while the huskies take off in front of you or you will end up on your back winded, looking at the sky and worried about these huskies running away from you the longer you stay on the ground out of breath. How do I know that? You bet, been there done that. That’s another thing you can cross off your list not to try 🙂

Well this was fun. Hope you have a great day! (Remember if it was too good a day, make sure you take a hyper untrained dog for a walk).